May 30, 2003

Love Is Love

This was posted in several Yahoo groups that I belong to. I'll admit I was lazy and didn't really check out the website and know very little about the doc mentioned. But the poster, Larry Chang, is interviewed in said doc and he's a cool, intelligent and well-informed guy. Stop by if you can. Unfortunately, I can't make it.

Jah Loveboy Productions Presents the NYC Premiere of, Songs of Freedom, Compelling Documentary about Gay Life in Jamaica

WHEN: Sunday June 1, 2003 @ 4:15 & 6:15 pm WHERE: NYU Cantor Film Center 36 East 8th Street (Between Broadway & University Place)    (Subway: 8 Street-New York University/Broadway Stop on the N or R Line) PRICE: Admission: $8.00 Tickets available at the door. There will be a Q&A with the director following each screening. Songs of Freedom, Canada, 2002, Video, 75 Minutes - Produced & Directed by Phillip Pike

"They don't think about what we have together as love. How can you hate someone for loving someone else? It's ridiculous. It doesn't matter what sense it's in, it's still love. And that's all I have to say to everyone. What we have is love and we are sharing it."

So declares Denise, a young Jamaican lesbian who remains defiant in the face of a notoriously violent, homophobic society that threatens her safety and condemns the way she chooses to love.

Songs of Freedom takes us inside Denise's world and that of other Jamaican gays and lesbians. It tells compelling stories of individuals courageously carving out meaningful lives, despite the taboo against their sexual identity. Instilled with an often contradictory sense of humour and anguish, these stories are about growing up, going to school, dating, and "coming out" in a country where one's individuality often collides with the dictates of family, community and religion.

Still, Songs of Freedom does more than capture the conflict inherent in the lives of Jamaican lesbians and gays. Evoking the emancipative philosophy of the late Bob Marley, the documentary also conveys the unflinching sense of hope, love and camaraderie used by the people in front of the camera to compose their personal songs of freedom and redemption. We see them as whole persons, full of beauty, complexity and contradictions, always deserving of love and respect.

In this sense, Songs of Freedom breaks new ground as the first documentary about gay life in Jamaica, even as it reflects the universal quest for human dignity in the face of oppression. Songs of Freedom features exclusive footage of a drag queen beauty contest. It also features a kick-ass soundtrack with original music composed by Toronto musician Quammie.

Producer/Director Phillip Pike is a former human rights lawyer and community activist. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Phillip immigrated with his family to Canada in the early 70's. A graduate of McGill University's Faculty of Law, Phillip's journey of personal discovery has taken him from the practice of law to an emerging career as a video artist. Phillip received training in video production at Trinity Square Video in Toronto and at the Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco.

Posted by ronn at May 30, 2003 05:30 PM

I am annoyed that I missed the screening this weekend! Any word on how it was? Posted by: tgemini on June 2, 2003 08:01 PM
I wish I could have made the screening, but I heard it was a great doc. Email Larry Chang (he's linked in the next post) and ask for his opinion. Although he's biased, he'll give a realistic assessment. I'm hoping to report on his interactions with NYC viewers this past weekend. Posted by: ronn on June 4, 2003 04:48 PM
Where can I get a copy of the documentary? Posted by: Mutinda Parris on April 23, 2004 04:03 PM